Former Manchester United striker Robin van Persie is relishing the opportunity to make a return to Old Trafford with Fenerbahce on Thursday night.
The Dutchman came to Manchester back in August 2012 and promptly fired Sir Alex Ferguson’s side to their twentieth Premier League title, netting 30 goals in all competitions.
Van Persie left Man United for Fenerbahce back in July 2015, and returns to the Theatre of Dreams for the first time on Thursday night in the Europa League.
Speaking ahead of the contest, the 33-year-old enthused over the prospect of returning to Old Trafford.
“It will be a special occasion and a special game for me,” he declared.
“I know Manchester United want to be in the Champions League, but it is how it is now and for me it is a very special group in the Europa League. In the last match I had a game against one of my first teams, Feyenoord, and next it’s United. I am looking forward to it.
“I am now playing for Fenerbahce and I want to do well for my team but of course it will be special to play ‘at home’ [Old Trafford] in a great stadium with great fans against a great team.
“It will be tough for us. United are the favourites, but you never know what will happen. In general I am looking forward to a nice evening and enjoying the whole experience.”
Van Persie’s return to Manchester will be met with rapturous acclaim from the United faithful, and rightly so. He may have spent just three seasons at Old Trafford (of which one was spent primarily on the sidelines), but the Dutchman has garnered cult-hero status at United.
His first season at United was a masterclass: there was no ‘settling in’ period, nor were any excuses made. The Dutchman took to Old Trafford’s hallow turf like a man possessed, determined to fire his way to a Premier League title that had eluded him at Arsenal.
Sir Alex instructed his players to fire the ball to Van Persie as often as possible, and it paid dividends: he was an effervescent force all season, seemingly unable to stop scoring.
United fans will never forget their side’s glorious 2012/13 campaign – a campaign that, with Van Persie as the figurehead, quickly became a procession.
Welcome back, Robin. Now, if you could – just this one time – have a shocker on Thursday, that’d be much appreciated.